A lot can be said about Gauri Shah. A young actuary with an easy smile, Gauri is a Director at PWC East Africa. Here at TASK, she is synonymous with IFRS Working Party, which she helped birth. Until recently, Gauri headed the Working Party – a mantle she has extended to David Limo.
I sat with Gauri, and she had a lot to share, including – and this should come not as a surprise due to her penchant for robust smile – her desire to be a dentist. Here is how the conversation took place:
John: Who is Gauri Shah?
Gauri: I am a Director at PWC. I set up the practice here, working across East Africa about six years ago. Prior to this, I worked at PWC UK where I trained and worked for 10 years. I am a mom of two little boys.
John: Tell us a bit on your actuarial journey
Gauri: Ok, I never actually intended to become an actuary :). Throughout the school, I was inclined towards the medical profession. I was pretty good at maths and that’s how I was introduced to the actuarial profession. In my head, this was a 3-year course against the dentist’s 5-year course. It appeared easier to pursue than dentistry. I got scholarship to study at The (Cass) Business School. Of course, as I pursued it, the more I learnt about the profession including the professional papers. Still, I’m interested in the medical field…
John: Take us through setting up the TASK’s IFRS Working Party
Gauri: I had been thinking about it for some time, and one day in 2017 I called Moses (Mutuli) and told him we really need an IFRS Working Party. This is because it is complex, and we did not have many actuarial practitioners at that time. I told him; we can really make a difference. I also contacted (Dennis) Mworia and Seth (Chengo) and a few others, and that is how it started.
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John: How would you assess your time there?
Gauri: Gladly I had a phenomenal team, and we really worked well together and put in time. The proudest time for me is what we achieved in 2019. We cracked through the complexity of IFRS 17 into simple tools. I’m really proud of what we have achieved and the team that has dedicated the time for it.
John: Where are we with adoption of IFRS17 in the country?
Gauri: It is a mixed bag. For local insurers, we are lagging behind. At PWC, we conducted an IFRS17 survey on the EMEA last year, and what was really telling on the responses was that those that were further progressed in the journey, thought they still did not have enough time to implement the changes. And those that had not started thought they would be done within one year. Which shows that until you get your hands dirty and start to understand what is required on IFRS17, only then do you realise the scale of work coming your way.
“Until you get your hands dirty and start to understand what is required on IFRS17, only then do you realise the scale of work coming your way.”
John: You are passing the baton to David Limo. Are you passing it with a sense of satisfaction, or do you think much could have been done?
Gauri: We have made gains, but there is still much to be done. David doesn’t have an easy ride there. The challenge is a bit different; how do we get the industry prepared?
John: So, what next for you?
Gauri: From a TASK perspective, I’m committed to remain involved actively in various initiatives. I still remain an active member of IFRS Working Party. On a personal level, we do a lot of work in the banking and credit risk space.
To join IFRS Working Party, kindly write to WP@actuarieskenya.or.ke